Gayle Reaves-King

Gayle Reaves-King is a poet, editor, educator and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. A Texas native, she lives in Fort Worth.

Her chapbook Spectral Analysis was published by the Dallas Poets Community. She was a founder and for several years an organizer of Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase. She is a member of The Writer’s Garret in Dallas; besides the chapbook, her poetry has appeared in Red River Review, Illya’s Honey, and several anthologies.

In four decades as a journalist, Reaves-King has reported from all over the world, including as a member of the team project that won a Pulitzer Prize in international reporting in 1994 for The Dallas Morning News. She edited the award-winning alternative newspaper Fort Worth Weekly for 14 years, taught journalism at the University of North Texas, and is now managing editor of The Texas Monitor, an online government-watchdog publication. In recent years she has written for the Texas Observer, D Magazine, TCU Magazine, American Way, and contributed to The Washington Post. For the last several years she has edited the Best American Newspaper Narratives anthologies, published by UNT Press.


A collection of pieces

walks down a street.

checkerboard maybe,

or a scarf of loose weave.

Read her like a book — in order —

not a bucket to dip from —

in order — from brown birthmark

between her shoulders

to yesterday’s finger slammed

in a door. Bind her

together — where

is the frontispiece

giving her

organizational theory?

She seems to be leaking words

as she hurries, never

quite able to close

the purse with all that it holds. Bills

go unpaid in the stacks

she packs with her.

Hard to run

with the stuffing

dragging. But that’s what

the world makes you do.

Quanah, 7 Miles

The weather front was a huge pastry, three-dimensional,
as though the utility crews on their cherry pickers were
reaching up to sample. Tall power poles
pulling their weight of wires across the miles
worshipped it like litter-bearers.

Rolls of golden hay, light green on the edges,
limned in crisp light.

Then we were under it, the hayfield and me,
my car wheels crossing a line more distinct
than one ever gets in human affairs
and I watched the light change across
fields and upcoming town, Love

(the gas station) raising its fluorescent heart
30 feet in the air to shine against the white water tower
itself backdropped by the great gray scape
of clouds. Horses,

white, brown, chestnut, silhouetted
against a palette
of scrub brush that changes
as I move. Brush from which a train
appears at the edge of vision, its locomotive
beam surreal. Rows

of roadside trees coiffed by prevailing winds
into a rolling pompadour of stiff gray curls,
tipped now with a faint red-brown of buds. I don’t know

if I could make a life on Wrinkle Road,
Quanah 7 miles — years spent in the heat and cold,
chapped hands, cruel coin toss of flood
and drought, isolating despair of small
towns, existing on the beauty
of cloud baguettes.
But I can make of it joy.